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Europa Conference League highlights and round-up: West Ham earn comeback win, Villarreal edge thriller

West Ham's second-half showing and Francis Coquelin's last-ditch stunner were among the Matchday 1 highlights in the second UEFA Europa Conference League group stage.

Emerson Palmieri celebrates after completing West Ham's comeback
Emerson Palmieri celebrates after completing West Ham's comeback Getty Images

There were a number of entertaining contests and historic results as the 2022/23 UEFA Europa Conference League group stage got under way.

UEFA.com rounds up the Thursday night action.

Europa Conference League Predictor

West Ham 3-1 FCSB

Highlights: West Ham 3-1 FCSB

West Ham avoided a shock in their first match in this competition by coming from behind to claim three Group B points. The visitors took the lead when Andrei Cordea finished a good team move, but the Hammers were handed a way back into it when Ștefan Târnovanu brought down Maxwell Cornet. Jarrod Bowen slammed in the resulting penalty, and Emerson struck his first West Ham goal shortly after. Michail Antonio put the seal on it with a fine effort late on.

Key stat: West Ham beat Romanian opposition for only the second time in nine attempts – and the first since a 1980 win against Poli Timișoara.

Hearts 0-4 İstanbul Başakşehir

Highlights: Hearts 0-4 İstanbul Başakşehir

Hearts' first European group game in 18 years ended miserably as they were well beaten by Başakşehir at Tynecastle. Only Hasan Ali Kaldırım's left-footed drive separated the sides in a tight first half, but Youssouf Ndayishimiye's header, Stephen Kingsley's own goal and a deflected effort from Berkay Özcan rounded off the win after the restart.

Key stat: Başakşehir are now unbeaten in 19 competitive fixtures (W13 D6).

Fiorentina 1-1 RFS

Highlights: Fiorentina 1-1 RFS

Andrej Ilić's second-half strike earned debutants RFS a hard-fought point in Florence. Goalkeeper Pāvels Šteinbors denied Arthur Cabral four times in the first half but was unable to prevent Antonín Barák from opening the scoring. But the night belonged to Ilić, who latched on to substitute Kevin Friesenbichler's delightful through ball to prod in the equaliser.

Key stat: Ilić's equaliser was RFS' first ever goal in a UEFA group stage.

Villarreal 4-3 Lech

Highlights: Villarreal 4-3 Lech

Francis Coquelin's stunning late strike gave Villarreal victory in an enthralling encounter. The 2020/21 Europa League winners scored three times in eight minutes before the interval after a Michał Skóraś opener but they were pegged back by Mikael Ishak's double. But the hosts were not to be denied, Coquelin's crisp effort two minutes from time giving Unai Emery's side victory.

Key stat: Coquelin has now scored two goals in his last four UEFA competition appearances, having struck just once in his first 61.

Nice 1-1 Köln

Highlights: Nice 1-1 Köln

Andy Delort's second-half penalty helped Nice recover to earn a draw at home to Köln. The hosts fell behind in the first half when Steffen Tigges steered in Jan Thielmann's low cross, but were given the chance to level when Timo Hübers handled after the restart. Delort made no mistake from the resulting spot kick.

Key stat: Delort's second-half penalty was his third goal this term – more than any other Nice player.

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Best of the rest

• Anderlecht secured their first home European group stage win since November 2016 thanks to Fábio Silva's late penalty – the seventh goal of the campaign already for the Wolves loanee.

• Kosovan side Ballkani, in their debut season in European competition, looked to be heading for a famous victory against CFR Cluj thanks to Armend Thaci's historic goal, but were pegged back by Yuri Matias' added-time header.

• Fellow UEFA competition group stage new boys Slovácko were involved in a topsy-turvy contest with Partizan in Uherske Hradiste. The hosts, who were 2-0 up after 19 minutes and possessing a man advantage shortly after, found themselves trailing after a three-goal burst in the second half. However, Libor Kozák levelled with his first home goal for the Czech side seven minutes from time.

Highlights: Slovácko 3-3 Partizan

All the Matchday 1 results

Group A: Hearts 0-4 İstanbul Başakşehir, Fiorentina 1-1 RFS
Group B: Anderlecht 1-0 Silkeborg, West Ham 3-1 FCSB
Group C: Villarreal 4-3 Lech, Austria Wien 0-0 Hapoel Beer-Sheva
Group D: Slovácko 3-3 Partizan, Nice 1-1 Köln
Group E: Vaduz 0-0 Apollon Limassol, Dnipro-1 0-1 AZ Alkmaar
Group F: Molde 0-0 Gent, Shamrock Rovers 0-0 Djurgården
Group G: Ballkani 1-1 CFR Cluj, Sivasspor 1-1 Slavia Praha
Group H: Basel 3-1 Pyunik, Slovan Bratislava 0-0 Žalgiris

All the Matchday 2 fixtures (15 September)

Group A: RFS vs Hearts (21:00), İstanbul Başakşehir vs Fiorentina (21:00)
Group B: FCSB vs Anderlecht (21:00), Silkeborg vs West Ham (21:00)
Group C: Lech vs Austria Wien (21:00), Hapoel Beer-Sheva vs Villarreal (21:00)
Group D: Partizan vs Nice (21:00), Köln vs Slovácko (21:00)
Group E: Apollon Limassol vs Dnipro-1 (18:45), AZ Alkmaar vs Vaduz (18:45)
Group F: Djurgården vs Molde (18:45), Gent vs Shamrock Rovers (18:45)
Group G: Slavia Praha vs Ballkani (18:45), CFR Cluj vs Sivasspor (18:45)
Group H: Žalgiris vs Basel (18:45), Pyunik vs Slovan Bratislava (18:45)

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